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Inchanga Viaduct
Inchanga, KwaZulu-Natal

Type:Railway Bridge

Passengers by rail from Durban to Pietermaritzburg will recognise in this picture the fine-looking old viaduct, which was some time since condemned as unsafe. Now the railway is diverted round the head of the valley which it spanned, but the viaduct remains a prominent object in the landscape as the train passes by. Owing to the mountainous nature of the country, railway making in Natal has called forth some daring engineering; the rails being in some instances laid on gradients of 1 in 30, and curves of 1 in 300. The first sod of the railway was turned in 1876.

Ref: Photographs of South Africa comprising Representative Views etc.; The South African Photo-Publishing Company, Cape Town, 1894: pp 175.

[Submitted by William MARTINSON, January 2011]

The Inchanga viaduct was the largest on the line between Durban and Pietermaritzburg with seven openings of 24.29m each. As a result of the scarcity of good building stone along the line the contractors agreed to use iron bridges in place of the larger masonry works. The arches of the viaduct therefore rested on piers of cast-iron while the rails were to be carried 27.43m above the bed of the river by latticework girders of wrought iron.

The viaduct was finally dismantled in 1897.

[Extracted from: Heydenrych, Heinie and Martin, Bruno. 1992. The Natal Main Line Story. Pretoria: HSRC Publishers. p, 33.]

All truncated references not fully cited below are those of Joanna Walker's original text and cited in full in the 'Bibliography' entry of the Lexicon.